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Safe School Climate


Voluntown Public Schools actively works to promote and sustain a positive climate at school, the ultimate remedy for Bullying.  Voluntown Elementary School persists in our efforts to provide a number of programs, practices and strategies to address any kind of hurtful, mean-spirited behavior including, but not limited to bullying and harassment by working first and foremost to foster positive learning climates. 


 Safe School Climate Definitions/Components


“Positive Sustained School Climate” is the foundation for learning and positive youth development and includes: 

  1. Norms, values and expectations that support people feeling socially, emotionally, intellectually and physically safe; 
  2. People who treat one another with dignity, and are engaged and respected;
  3. A school community that works collaboratively together to develop, live and contribute to a shared school vision;
  4. Adults who model and nurture attitudes that emphasize the benefits and satisfaction gained from learning; and 
  5. A school community that contributes to the operations of the school and the care of the physical environment.  


“School Climate” means the quality and character of the school life with a particular focus on the quality of the relationships within the school community between and among students and adults. School climate is also based on patterns of people's experiences of school life and reflects norms, goals, values, interpersonal relationships, teaching, learning, leadership practices and organizational structures.


“Safe School Committee” means the committee appointed at a specific school building by the Specialist to perform the duties described herein. 


“Safe School Climate Coordinator” means the Superintendent or the certified administrator appointed by the Superintendent to oversee the implementation of the district's Safe School Climate Plan and perform the duties described herein. (Alycia M. Trakas ~ Principal/Assistant Superintendent)


“Safe School Climate Specialist” means the certified administrator appointed by the Coordinator at a specific school building to oversee the implementation of the district's Safe School Climate Plan within the building, oversee the implementation of the School Climate Improvement Plan within the building, and perform the duties described herein.  (Amy L. Suffoletto ~ Assistant Principal)


“Safe School Climate Plan” means the district plan developed and implemented pursuant to Conn. Gen. Stat. Section 10-222(d), containing provisions pertaining to bullying, filing complaints and conducting investigations, and posted on the district website. (See below.)

“School Climate Survey”
shall mean a well-established reliable and valid survey that measures the core district populations (including students, parents/guardians, all school personnel - administrators, educators, certified and noncertified staff) and, when available, the wider community, and is easy and quick to administer.  (Administered every spring.)


Safe School Climate Committee Members 

Barber, Kayla, 1st Grade Teacher 

Creaturo, Mike, 2nd Grade Teacher 

Gardella, Angela, Paraprofessional 

MacEwen, Emily ~ School Counselor and VES Title IX Coordinator 

Grant, Catherine, BOE Member & Parent 

Lawrence, Lynne, 7th and 8th Grade Social Studies Teacher 

Obertello, Sue, JHS Special Education Teacher 

St. John, Jake, 5th and 6th Grade Social Studies Teacher 

Suffoletto, Amy/Chair, Assistant Principal and Safe School Climate Specialist 

Trakas, Alycia, Principal/Assistant Superintendent and District Title IX Coordinator/Safe School Climate Coordinator 

Voland, Margaret, Computer/Media Literacy Teacher 

Ward, Jim, Director of Technology


Purpose of the VES Safe School Climate Committee

The District shall implement, as required by C.G.S. 10-222d, as amended in P.A. 11-232, a prevention and intervention strategy which may include, but is not limited to:

  1. Implementation of a positive behavioral intervention and support process or another evidence-based model approach for safe school climate or for the prevention of bullying as defined by statute.
  2. School rules prohibiting bullying, harassment, and intimidation and establishing appropriate consequences for those who engage in such acts. 
  3. Adequate adult supervision of outdoor areas, hallways, the lunchroom, and other specific areas where bullying is likely to occur.
  4. Inclusion of grade-appropriate bullying education and prevention curricula in all grades
  5. Individual interventions with the bully, parents and school employees and interventions with the bullied child, parents, and school employees.
  6. School wide training related to safe school climate.
  7. Student peer training, education and support.
  8. Promotion of parent involvement in bullying prevention through individual or team participation in meetings, trainings, and individual interventions. 


The committee must include at least one parent/guardian of a student enrolled in the school, appointed by the Safe School Climate Specialist. The Safe School Climate Committee shall:

  1. Receive copies of completed reports following investigations of bullying; 
  2. Identify and address patterns of bullying among students in the school;
  3. Review and amend school policies relating to bullying;
  4. Review and make recommendation to the District Safe School Climate Coordinator regarding the District’s Safe Climate Plan based on issues and experiences specific to the school;
  5. Educate students, school employees and parents and guardians of students on issues relating to bullying;
  6. Collaborate in the collection of data for reports to the SDE regarding bullying; 
  7. Perform any other duties as determined by the School Principal that are related to the prevention, identification and response to school bullying for the school.


Parent members are excluded from activities #1 and #2 above and from any other committee activities that may compromise student confidentiality. 

 (ASB on 9-30-14)


Safe School Climate Links/Resources:

Policy # 5131.911 and Safe School Climate Plan (12-8-11)

Report of Incident Form (updated 2-24-14)


 Non-Discrimination and Equal Opportunity Policy/Procedures

The Voluntown Public Schools/Voluntown Board of Education does not discriminate in any employment practice, education program, or educational activity on the basis of race, color, religious creed, gender, age, national origin, ancestry, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, disability (including, but not limited to intellectual disability, past or present history of mental disorder, physical disability or learning disability), genetic information, or any other basis prohibited by Connecticut state and/or federal nondiscrimination laws.  

Ms. Emily MacEwen, School Counselor, is responsible for monitoring compliance with this policy.  Her office is located in the VES Main Office and her contact information is:

Ms. Emily MacEwen

School Counselor/VES Title IX Coordinator

Voluntown Elementary School

195 Main Street / PO Box 129

Voluntown, CT 06384

(860) 376-2325 ext. 127


Sexual Harassment/Harassment Policy/Procedures

Sexual harassment (Policy # 5145.5) will not be tolerated among students. Any form of sexual harassment is forbidden whether by student, supervisory or nonsupervisory personnel, individuals under contract, or volunteers in the schools.  Students shall exhibit conduct that is respectful and courteous to employees, to fellow students, and to the public.

Sexual harassment is any unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature, whether verbal or physical, including, but not limited to:

  1. Insulting or degrading sexual remarks or conduct;

  2. Threats or suggestions that a student’s submission to, or rejection of, unwelcome conduct will in any way influence a decision regarding that student;

  3. Conduct of a sexual nature that substantially interferes with the student’s learning or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive learning environment, such as the display in the educational setting of sexually suggestive objects or pictures.

The Board of Education encourages victims of sexual harassment to report such claims promptly to the superintendent of schools or his/her designee.  Complaints shall be investigated promptly and corrective action taken when allegations are verified.  Confidentiality shall be maintained and no reprisals or retaliation shall occur as a result of good faith charges of sexual harassment.

If you feel that you are the victim of sexual harassment, you may also file a complaint with the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities, 21 Grand Street, Hartford, CT 06106 at toll free 800-477-5737, TDD 860-541-3459.  For Connecticut, as required, a formal written complaint may be filed with the Commission within 180 days of the date when the alleged harassment occurred.  Furthermore, you may also file a complaint with the Boston Office for Civil Rights, U.S. Dept. of Education, 33 Arch Street, Suite 900, Boston, MA 02110-1491, Telephone: 617-289-0111, FAX: 617-289-0150, TDD: 877-521-2172, Email:  

If you have questions or concerns, please contact any of the following staff members:

Alycia M. Trakas

Principal/Assistant Superintendent

School Climate Coordinator

District Title IX Coordinator

(860) 376-2325 ext. 121

Amy L. Suffoletto

Assistant Principal

School Climate Specialist


(860) 376-2325 ext. 113

Emily MacEwen

School Counselor

VES Title IX Coordinator


(860) 376-2325 ext. 127